Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Words, Words, Words

Words: a unit of language, consisting of one or more spoken sounds or their written representation, that functions as a principal carrier of meaning.
speech or talk: to express one's emotion in words; Words mean little when action is called for.

 Words are probably one of those things in life we take for granted, overlook, overuse, abuse and are both in the wrong and right category to someone, at any time and any place. What side are words on really?  There never seems to be in this life, a right or wrong way to portray what we really feel or what we endure. Some words are chosen for one person but, another person can find a million other words to portray what that single person wracked their brains trying to figure out. Powerful, words can be but, like the dictionary says "mean little when action is called for". Rather amazing our language isn't it? They can heal, they can soothe, they can release a variety of emotions but, they can also cut deep and cause pain that it emotional and physical. They can be full of joy, love and then hate, jealousy and malice. They can be the first from a child's mouth but, then can be a last confession or goodbye from a dying breath. They can give someone a name, a title, stardom, recognition and at the same time, give someone a reputation, a brand, a mark on an otherwise unmarked person. Words can build hope and empires but, they can also break you down and crumble a civilization. So many to choose from, so many to flip through but, nothing sounds right.

Or at least to me. Not right now. 

It's been a bad week. Full of ups, more downs and everything gets so jumbled up in my head at night, that I struggle to sort it all out. Things again blew up today with my husband that wasn't even necessary. Something so small and lack of communication turned into a shouting match. He did something behind my back and it wasn't so much the act, but the lack of trust I have in him. A broken promise, a single word of trust was a lie. That part angered and truly hurt me the most. He lured me in with some kind words, I took the bait and bam! It began. It seems these days all he wants to do is scream and yell. What I want is to actually talk and have a conversation that is important, or hell, not even talk at all. I hate he knows the right words to find what buttons to hurt me with but, all the wrong word to say to encourage or to show feelings. I hate that words can't be found to the point where I can no longer speak to him. All of these words I can spew forth and turn on the verbal faucet and yet, couldn't even find the right words to relay to my husband. Because his anger has increased, so has his foul language and the yelling. In return, I just basically shut down these days or yell back to stop yelling at me. I sometimes wish we could just shut up, run away, lock ourselves away in a small cabin with nothing more than necessity items, a fireplace, duct tape and a really big ass tub.

Most of all? No words to be spoken at all.

 I got to thinking about how powerful words were the other day on Facebook when a conversation happened over one single word between two friends. Both had very valid points, and I always like to look and analyze from both sides. One remarked about an article being released on "Caregiver Burden" in regards to the Phase One of he Dole Foundation Study done on Caregivers and, she said she never felt like it was a "burden". That word to them, was chosen to be taken out of their vocabulary. I thought that was interesting because in our home, certain words are not used either. I honestly, have never really paid much attention to what the media says because half the time its distorted, misused, misquoted and sensationalized. Her remark made me think about anything being a burden in my home. On the other hand, another dear friend remarked that with the media, using other choice words like "Military Caregivers are being Inconvenienced" wouldn't help pass legislation. So there we go back to the right words but portraying it in the wrong way or the wrong words being used to call into action which would have to be right because that's the only way. I guess I am not really making any sense but, their conversation sparked a fire in my mind that this is how it is with my husband and I. I say one thing, he says the other and before we know it; words are flying all over the place and they are neither wrong or right.

Sometimes with all my words, I wish I could find the right words my husband needs to hear.

I often wonder if my husband is even there anymore to sincerely "hear" me as I speak. Or if it just comes out, goes in to his brain and somehow gets jumbled? Why must even nice things or effort on my part suddenly for him, turn into a personal attack? I try so very hard to accept his injuries, am pretty knowledgeable about it, but at the same time, I just don't really "get it". He doesn't really "get" me either. I learn every day, or at least try my best to. I used to think that by not saying anything at all, it meant acceptance. That silence meant that you accepted whatever it was going on, whether it be right or wrong. Now sometimes all I wish for is silence and no words on the computer, the phone, the television, the kids and the list goes on. From him though....all I want is just words that are filled with something more than emptiness, hate and hopelessness.

For the first time two weeks ago and again reminded today, I realized I no longer see my "husband" at all anymore or anywhere. I don't recognize his voice, is actions, his thinking. Nothing. It's like he just disappeared. I don't understand how in a matter of just a few months, that suddenly we are changing this drastic and here I am left to figure it all out. Some ask me "how can I help?". While appreciated, I honestly don't know. Is it possible he is right that he is too far gone to be saved? If he truly believes that, is he completely a lost soul forever?

I promised him once upon a time that I would never let him down. I haven't. Not once. I also promised that I would never allow him to become just another statistic in a file cabinet somewhere only known as "last four of his social". Sometimes I wonder if I set my standards too high. Maybe I promised too much and now my biggest fear is that I am slowly losing him, watching him get further and further away from us and failing at my promises. If there was any backing to the word Burden in our world of PTSD and TBI as Caregivers, to me, this is my burden. The burden of promising and the fear of failure. I know sometimes he pushes me away, hurts me so I will walk away thinking in the long run he is saving me. Little does he know that while yes, it does hurt.....he is only hurting himself.

Today, I had no words left to speak to him on the phone. None. I didn't now what to say so I just simply hung up.

Chicken shit way out, I know. Nothing pisses him off more than my hanging up on him and man, does he hold grudges and punishes you by not speaking to you because you hung up. However, his hang ups on me don't apparently count in his double standards. Now we can't even talk to each other. My best friend, who I shared everything with, always talked to, never lied to and never hid anything behind his just simply gone. Therapy at the VA to him , he seems to think its working but, I see no improvements but, far more worse behavior. I don't believe he is being honest or talking about any of these issues with his therapist at all. That's ok but at the same time, I want him to succeed in life and to get to a point where he can just be at ease. I see so much in him that still can be saved and yet, he is so ready to give up. All I can wonder tonight is.......were we, as his wife and children, not enough to stand up and fight for like we did for him?

Words can torture a soul, shatter a mind in a million ways but, tonight? I can't think of one single word that describes my hurt, distrust, losses, and pain. The long winded blogger, Uncle Sam's Mistress, has simply run out of words to say period. It scares me completely and no one here really cares or understands. I keep thinking if I keep trying, just one more time, just one more time...he will see. Yet, he never does. He never hears me and for the life of me.....I don't know what I did to deserve this. At least if you have an answer you can cope, but this? There is nothing more than unanswered questions, second guesses and picking yourself apart to see what you could have done wrong. To beat it all, even after geting this off my chest this evening...

I still can't find the right or wrong words to say to him, so I shall say nothing at all.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Picking Your Battles

So yeah, it's been a rough few weeks apparently, from my last blog posted. Things have though, thankfully,  calmed down a bit although my husband thinks he needs to "think about some things and get his head figured out". I am not really sure what that means but, I get it. We have been civil to each other but, no more meetings on the battlefield. There have been some nice efforts made on his part but, he sees no wrong in anything he said or did. That part bothers me the most. He dodges anything that relates to "us" so our kids are really the only thing we have that keeps us on mutual ground. I still feel like I am being blamed for something, being pushed away for God knows what and still have no clue what's going on with him. I think out of all of it? The blame hurts the worse especially when there is no reason I can find. He thinks he is beyond saving and I see much more left to save.

How's that for controversy? Try finding "compromise" in that statement. 

I wonder from time to time, if love can't save our Veterans then, what really does? Is there more out there we can do? Then from time to time, I put all my frustrations and heartaches into fighting for him and others. I really don't see myself as an advocate. I try to write to help others but, advocacy is such a strong word and often, I shy away from it. Hell, I am a volunteer with Family of a Vet, a friend that I've had for five years now and I can't seem to do enough! I try to help where I can but, at least she knows if she needs me, I've got her back or at the very least, bail money. I'm so proud of her and all her work she does along with all of our bloggers. I spend most of my pain, fighting back against what is wrong, putting all my strength into pushing for what was earned, and then battling the system as if I have nothing to lose. Right now, I wonder if I possibly just fought too much, and did it lead me into this situation and my husband? Maybe he figured I just left him behind. although supportive, he uses it against me when he is angry. It's why sometimes, I stay unsure of myself. I don't think he realizes that he was the reason I fought so hard. Leave no man behind right? Isn't that what we are all taught in the military? I really don't know what to think because well, I am somewhat lost on this whole part of it.

I am still continuing with my personal vendetta with myself and placing some challenges for me to complete.

I went ahead and did the radio interview with Dick Gordon, with The Story, in which my husband was supportive of. I enjoyed this experience immensely and thought for the first time in a long time albeit nervous, that maybe my self doubt is just coming from not knowing what direction I am going in. I am usually the lady with the plan, the poker faced Mistress with a few aces up her sleeves and a crap load of Jokers. I can pretty much keep that bluff for a long time, making even myself believe that I got it figured out. Honestly though, sometimes I have no idea. I also blame being a Virgo in all this mess and possibly still revisiting the whole menopause/demon possession as well. During the radio interview, I felt comfortable like maybe I was supposed to be there. All I can hope for is no back lash like I have had in the past for what I say; which is usually the non-sugar coated version of our lives. It was a good day. I drove home listening to my Ipod, belting out a few tunes, smiling at the fact I spun in the office chair in the studio and drank water from a cup that said "Life is Young". I decided that day, you know what? I am not going to just hide behind my computer. I need to get out more and just do more things. I almost decided to get rid of the purple and magenta highlights but, somehow it just suits me and it's still my hostage negotiation. I am afraid if I go back, I go back three steps personally. Still have the purple toenails, and polka dotted nails. Might change that up a bit. So keeping to the 101 challenge and adding on to my list. This time, for no one but myself.

It's been a long time coming but, maybe that's what scaring my husband?

I came home that one fine afternoon to a virtual storm of emails, MEB appeals denied and an upset husband. I have to tell you, I think battling the VA was much easier than navigating the Army's system of the Medical Evaluation Board. It makes no sense, the requirements you must jump over while doing a hand stand and the paperwork; it's no wonder why people give up, don't understand how to do it, and how they get screwed over so badly. I spent my whole day yesterday trying to figure out this mess and why they denied our appeal which is the residuals of the TBI, his back and knees and why they only want to put him out for PTSD. It seems the Army wants to only look at one day, in 2007 when our guys landed back home. One day, in which all their injuries were documented, promised to be taken care of, then just like that....disappeared. According to what I read in the denial in response to the appeal, which by the way, a third grader could have made more sense in writing it, it seemed to me they disregarded the last five years of medical records. It's all there. We rolled the dice, took the gamble and went with an Independent Medical Review to look over everything and base their opinion.

There you go, sometimes you just have to take chances even when the odds are against you. 

Now why is it a gamble? Because it can go against you or for you is how it was explained to us by JAG. You could have one doctor having a really bad day, the kind where they think "screw it. I'll just flip through this and say whatever". You are basically asking a doctor, who is on the outside and has no knowledge before hand or nothing to do with your case, to look everything over and say yay or nay. Well, we rolled that dice and it turned out that the doctor not only verified, backed it all up with her opinions in our favor but, also added two more diagnosis's. I figured, this cats in the bad. Wrong.

The Army wants to go back to six years ago, on the day of landing and because his records have nothing there they just want to deny everything based on one day. Tell me that makes any sense at all.  It took everything I had to keep the rage I felt under control because the records they are looking at are the only ones they have, because WE gave it to them. I swear, if I had a nickel for every time someone said "how strange is it that they have lost everything not just once, but several times?", "well, your husband's case is a backwards one" and "holy hell what a mess!", I would take that money and find me a really good ambulance chaser who would sue the Army for negligence, lying, covering it up, abuse, complete disregard for soldier's personnel records and then there is the safety concerns we have. If they lost all these records for these soldiers, who has them and who has access to the information?

Then everyone wants to know why we trust no one and demand copies of everything. 

We are now on our 3rd PEBLO which isn't really helping matters since the last one left this one a pile of mass confusion in an already overloaded caseload. If I ever locate our last one, I got a few things to say to him. We tried to express our concerns, our questions and even did a conference call with her, our military caseworker and Federal Reserve officer and somehow in all that....apparently she fell asleep. This week though, I had to suck up the pride all while listening to her lies, excuses and appeal to her woman to woman just fighting for their husbands. I am not sure that worked or not. We shall see. I really don't know exactly what a PEBLO does, or maybe the job descriptions that are listed and from what everyone tells me they are; doesn't seem to be any guidelines the ones we have had are following, After clearing up some questions she had, it finally hit her like Ah hah! I incurred a few bangs against the wall while on the phone, a nosebleed while further banging my head against the keyboard, a much needed Xanex and the consideration of just becoming an alcoholic (just a joke so please don't send me emails in regards to my alcoholism).....perhaps we might be one further step ahead with this one. The debate is still out though and I am not holding my breath.

It's been a nightmare. One I want to finally just wake up from and be done.

From my earlier posts and with the power of the internet, my open invitation to General Talley got a response. He was pretty upset with me in a closed response and that's ok. I deserved it and so did he. So I think we are even on the playing field. I probably wasn't nice and after re-reading it, I realized blogging and a bottle of wine probably wasn't the wisest choice. However, he did say that he could be contacted and see he could help. It's a little too late now and I have contacted him before with no response from his office or the people who work in there telling me to go somewhere else. I normally don't attack people without a warranted and previous burned experience. Now that we have someone else from the unit coming forward with the exact same story and lost records, no awards etc, I feel better about telling him all. So that is my next project. It might be too late for us but maybe it might alert him to some issues that are there for the others. I figure if I run into the same run around from his office like before, I will mail the same letter every week until someone answers.

I would just like someone to say "I'm sorry. I wish I had known then to help you" but then, I think I would rather have them do something to make it easier. I am tired of fighting. The Mistress will of course, apologize because after reading that post I realized I came out the fences with my boxing gloves on, fueled by courage, wine, hurt and anger in a comment he made and I wasn't probably fair to him to be honest. I still stand by the rest of my open invitation. I just don't like people telling me the Army is our family because we have learned very quickly that family shuts their doors and all of you have agreed so I know that I am not being just a hard ass that no one can get along with. That's the truth and, perhaps once he knows our story and others, maybe he will understand why I extended the invitation to come and visit his "family". I am still getting emails out of the wazoo from different Army departments just sympathizing but, some that truly want to do something. I wish I had all the hours in the world so I could get caught up.

With much of the MEB, I am going to have to pick some of the battles. Me being the person I am, I want to fight in them all but, deep down I know I just can't. I know some of it will be denied, some won and some lost. It's just the way it is. I am just going to have to accept that and, so will my husband. I've been fueled by sheer desperation, what is right and wrong an most of all? The fear of letting him down when the rest of the world did. It's time to accept that I can't win them all and some battles, even if just small...will have to be accepted as major wins especially in this life.

Doesn't mean I didn't try like hell though to win them all. 

After talking to our JAG, I appealed to him as a person to me as a person; just two human beings, shooting the shit. I was nice, and I explained why I won't give up and he explained what my best options are. I know their jobs are tough. I asked him how does he do it? Haven't you ever wondered how these guys and girls do these jobs every day and then go home to sleep at night? I have. I don't think I could do it at all. I know all of them are overloaded, buried under red tape, dead lines and cases that are lengthy that don't get closed can be very detrimental to that caseworker. I read quite a bit and am not the average joe blow and I always try to be fair, for all sides......until they piss me off and talk down to me. One question I always ask them is "wouldn't you do this for your spouse or would you just lie down and give up?". I joked and told him with as much spit fire as I have, I should have been a lawyer. He told me it was never too late. Who knows?

In other news in my crazy antics, my participation in the Dole Foundation paid off with the release this week of Phase One of the Rand Study on Military Caregivers and Families of our Veterans. I can say, with deep pride, this is one small step but what a huge jump it will give all of us in the future. It's been splashed all over the internet, all over the news and we have some exciting stuff coming with all this. You can view it here in the PDF format, so you don't have to pay for it. I know many of the VA's read my blog (yes, I can see you on here ;) ) Please read as it might help you get some stats. I think besides this blog, doing a few news reports, I am most proud that my voice is in that Rand Study. It was long overdue and hopefully it will help later down the road. 

I am currently trying to take a few things at a time, one day at a time and choosing my battles. I am very weary and sometimes in this world of ours? It can become very monotonous to breathe, eat, sleep, dream and live PTSD, TBI, War and all that comes with it. I will try to help my husband sort out what's going on in his head and help where I can with his thinking he is too far gone. Mostly though? I think I have carried him far enough and some of this, he will have to learn to stand on his own. I realized that much of the time, I can only stand back and watch him fight his own war. It is one of the hardest things to do but, at the same time, I have myself and my children to carry too. I am working on starting my support group in the area, tossing some ideas around (keeping myself grounded though Miss Torrey on the ideas) and even pitched in with a new group called Warrior Chef. I have always liked to cook, been a been there, done that on trying to feed a family of five on a small budget and he is a dear friend of mine. It's different, it's fun and I like his spunk to get out there and just do it! Although I am many states away, I would like him to succeed in this program. I am also doing this for me. I secretly always wanted to write a cookbook so maybe this will pacify my need for that dream that slipped by. 

Know it doesn't take much to burn both ends of the candle out quickly.

So warrior wife to those out there reading; my tip of the day is that sometimes you just have to step back. If feelings get hurt, or someone gets mad. Hell, let them get mad or hurt. Whatever is not done on that small list for the day? It will still be there tomorrow. Get out there and do something just for yourself. Spin in an office chair, do something crazy you normally wouldn't do, and learn to pick your battles. There will always be battles in this life and there will always be victories and losses. Sometimes though, you just have to the strength to stand up, wave the white flag and walk away in order to save your sanity. Know and understand that sometimes there is absolutely nothing we can do to help fight the battles in our Veteran's heads except be there to support, love and encourage. It doesn't make us failures I decided, it just makes us that much stronger.......

"To fight and conquer in all our battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."
Sun Tzu


Sunday, March 3, 2013

And We All Fall Down.....

I wanted to write this blog with everything I have to let go of the hurt and pain I am currently feeling. It's been a verbal WWW III here the last week. Assaults from left and right, from behind and from the front; never knowing where they were coming from nor could I run from it. There was no safety zone for either of us and when I began to come under attack, I finally broke loose myself. I let loose my frustrations, my concerns and all the things I needed to say but never did. If you ever owned a pressure cooker and have seen one explode? There you have my husband and I. Six years of built up pressure, exploding. He pulled an arsenal he has built apparently of many years, venom that he has stored and I never thought anyone could be so mean in my life. So many hurtful things were said, not just on his part but my part too when I couldn't handle anymore hits. I don't know what hurts worse.....saying what he did, or saying what I did. It was both our faults When there was silence, an Arctic wind blew from his direction and chilled me to the bone. I walked away with guilt hanging around my neck for finally letting all of it loose but, also because I am just not a mean person. He might as well stabbed me, because the sword of hate he swung so swiftly cut me to the bone.

I can't even remember when or how it started.

Stupid isn't it?

Until three days ago, there were no tears that would come. The past months I have gone to my bed alone, waiting for him to follow but, he never came. No response to my "Good Night", no "I love you" and waiting for something to come out of him. Something. Anything. My bed companion was confusion, anger, hurt and loneliness. I didn't understand what had I done? Did I forget to do something? Was it me? The questions just kept coming and I found I wasn't sleeping. Quite a crowd to sleep in one bed with, but in all honestly, its been that way a long time. The only comfort I had was the dogs, the shadows and noises from outside. Finally though, after the war started, ending with no winner declared; the dam broke and it seems I have done nothing but cry. Now that the tears have finally stopped, the smoke has cleared and all is said and done. I am finally understanding a few things and some I don't know what the hell it is or why it happened. I must write or I will self implode as the pain is just this much. I never thought anyone could hurt this badly. I didn't think my heart could never be broken into a million pieces because it was never whole for a long time anyway. I guess I had more there than I thought.

I had a LOT more than what I thought because the hurt just won't stop. The emptiness I feel is hollow and sickening. I guess I didn't do a good enough job of protecting myself, I didn't love him less; my walls just weren't built that high.

It's been a rough couple of years, there is no lying about that. Last year had some bumps but, more of it was me just picking my own battles with him; choosing wisely which ones to argue about and ones to ignore. Thinking back, perhaps I ignored because I honestly just couldn't fight anymore, maybe I just didn't want to know, perhaps I just couldn't add anything more to my plate. Some days I would bite my tongue til it bled inside my mouth, other days I would just think over and over again the day will end and maybe tomorrow will be better. Issues of avoidance became so unbearable that when my middle son came home one day and asked me if I was a single parent, I just crumbled inside. It was a question with a sharp edge to it. The kind that sliced you down to the quick. How does one answer that to a six year old? If it was just me, I could handle the avoidance much easier but it was to the point where the kids never would see him but maybe a couple of hours a week.

I thought my respite break would give us some time apart, some time for him to see all that I do and how stressful it can be. He was blinded and chose not to see anything, not even really missing me like I had hoped. Looking over the verbal assaults, the arsenal of hurtful things he set traps for, for me to fall seems like my respite care has spawned some issues but, in all honesty to my readers....its been this way since New Year's Eve. There were days he could have been rightfully mad at me for telling him the truth. I said some things out of anger, I will admit it. Overall though? I think I have done more than my share to carry the burden without asking for help, without having someone to lean on for support and without anyone to catch me when I fell. I allowed him to use his injuries as excuses for things he could have helped. I fought so hard for him not to give up that I am tired. How does one keep a hold on someone who doesn't want to help himself? You just can't. As they fall, you see yourself falling further and further away.

Other days, he found things in his head to be mad at. There were days where I really resented his attitude, his verbal meanness towards me because I had given him everything and for what? To be drugged down with him? To not allow me to talk about my day or to smile? To feel guilt because we did something without him? With him, I will admit he had the right to be angry when some things were true when I pointed out the obvious. Others were colorfully pictured by I don't know what. PTSD? TBI? Some things he just made up or distorted just so he could be angry at me. How does one be so cold; so full of rage and hate, selfishness and anger that they create things to be mad at you about? I have run into some people that I dislike. I can also admit that. There are some people I just don't immediately like and stay away from. My grandmother called it the "knows" and said to rely on those senses because some people can just see the evil in others. It was a gift.

So how the hell did I miss this in my husband?

I pushed him forward to keep him from giving up. To not allow him to wallow in pity, worries about what the future will bring all while he pushed me further away.

So is this my fault? Did I just push him forward only to find an empty drop off a cliff?

I am not perfect. There is no one that is perfect. What I ask for in return is a marriage that is 50/50. While I know there are injuries that play havoc on his many moods and personalities, I ask that he cut me some slack because I carry so much. I ask for some communication, work together as a team but allow each to find their own niche. I don't breathe down his neck. I allow him room and encourage when he needs it the most. I do expect him to be with his family sometimes. Show his kids he cares, because right now? We are all under the same vote that he hates us.

Somehow, asking for some compassion that he can show others; he is incapable of showing me is too complicated. Attention he gives to others while he wears this fake mask of normalcy that he can wear with ease, is too hard to fake here at home. There are friends, people in town that would never know that he had anything wrong with him. He tries so hard to pretend, so hard to be the old person he was and it just can't be done. After a while, that mask is going to slip. What I don't understand is, is with my children and I? We don't ask for anything more than who he is now. We accept who he is, his injuries, we don't expect him to fake anything at all. The one small group of four, love him and care for him, even when he uses us to wipe his muddied boots all over. He doesn't have to overshoot and fake anything, doesn't have to hide, but at the same time....why is it we get all the run off?

Why is it just me? What did I do to deserve this?

Things were said by him. Much poisonous than any creature out there. The kind of venom that starts numbing, makes your heart pound, and your head spin. The kind that lingers for days in your system. It shuts down your system causing no sleep, your heart to hurt and shatter into a million pieces. Things were said by me, things I don't know where they came from. I am so ashamed of some of it. I am ashamed of him, of me and for both of us because we were supposed to "go big or go home". Some words were spoken from the heart and the truth. Was it right? Probably not, but with verbal warfare I think everyone speaks out of anger. His words stung much harder and has still left me with the bite marks and venom coursing through my veins. He can fake all he wants, trying to be normal. We aren't normal, we have a new normal. Doesn't mean life is over, doesn't mean everyone expects this normalcy from him, so I don't understand why he feels the need to overdo it but then not try at all for his wife and his children.

I have had to pick and choose battles with him. Much of the time, I never said anything at all. Perhaps a part of me just simply didn't want to know. There were times I got punished for absolutely nothing. If I was wrong, I apologized and either fixed it or made sure it never happened. Hey, again, I am not perfect or a saint. Never though, have I done or treated him wrong. There was never a time that I wasn't here for him, never a time I didn't clean up all his messes,and there was never a closed door that he faced I didn't open for him.

So many things he said, really just kicked me in the gut. I am going to be honest with you all, Readers. How can I help you by sharing our story, sharing what we learned and our mistakes, and our battles....if there is no happy ending? I have a radio interview on Tuesday this week and my heart just isn't in to it. I feel like a fake, because I can't even help my husband. I never claimed to know it all, never claimed to be a professional...just a person like all of you, going through the same steps day by day. The only difference is I write about it in hopes to save just one. I always had aces up my sleeve and maybe that's where I went wrong?

Maybe my full house has run out of cards. Perhaps I really have thrown the last Ace I had.

I know things are hard for him, and we have had a lot of blows this year. However, the people you push away aren't the ones who are always there to pick you up when you fall. I just need my husband occasionally. Sometimes I need a rock to lean on when days are bad and the stress is too much. If he can be there for others, what's so wrong with me?

The sad thing is, he made another mistake. Same one we have been dealing with since day one and while I am not nearly as upset over that as I am the nasty and hurtful things he said.....I just don't honestly know what to do. I usually have some type of answers, even if I pull out my Poker Face and bluff a few times. Sometimes talking with a friend helps, but how can I admit all this? Me? The one who is supposed to know better than to react to him, to let his shadow warrior reach into me and drag my soul to hell and shake it around? I would be too embarrassed.

I feel like blogging would be pointless from now on. Interviews, I kept thinking "if I do this, maybe just maybe, it will help another spouse or Veteran" but, what is there left to say? He took all my confidence away. My will. My drive. And for what? I have no idea. To push me away from what? Why all of a sudden did it all come out?

The worst part was that he said he never wanted to marry me to begin with. This past Christmas he bought me a gold band as my other was white and most of my other jewelry was gold. He took that band, wrapped it up in socks, stuffed it in a canister that was made to look like cleaning stuff. Even took the time to weigh it so it actually felt heavy like that of cleaning fluid. Hell, I was so tickled about the gift itself because it came from him, I didn't even care that it was cleaner. Turned out, it was a safe and hidden among the items he used for weight, and socks was that golden wedding ring.

I cried. Not just for happiness, not for the gift but because he took that much time and thought for me. It was my favorite gift ever. To hear those words, made the ring burn my finger. How can one say such things and expect them not to hurt? I know the answer to this but, to me I still hear it all ringing in my head. I want to cover my ears with my hands and just scream. I want to run away. I want the pain to end. What has left me now, is an empty shell of who I was, who I was becoming and what the hell has taken what was left of my husband. Now I am left with regrets, not knowing where to turn now, and what or who I am supposed to be. I was a fool to think I could stand in, ground in my heels and never let him knock me down. I was an idiot to think that my love would not fix him but just help him through the healing process. Damn me, for loving someone this much.

I feel like a failure.

I feel like I failed all of you.

I really don't even know how to end this blog but I guess I should have listened to the wise old words of "know when to hold 'em and know when to fold "em". I'd hate to see that there is no such thing as "love" that doesn't carry regrets, pain and foolishness.

Dammit, sometimes the house just completely falls down on top of you, and you have no way out......